Why do so few professional advisers fully understand SSAS Pensions?…and what can they do about it?

Posted on April 20, 2022

Last year I attended Accountex (the national accountants trade show) where I spoke to hundreds of accountants about SSAS pensions.

Surprisingly, I only came across a handful that knew anything about SSASs – and even then, they all described their knowledge as limited. Accountex was cancelled this year, but I’m fairly sure I would have had the same experience

Before you dismiss this as a one-off, just last week I presented a webinar to a firm of IFAs.

The seven IFAs and two Chartered Financial Planners had all come across SSASs in their training, however, all of them admitted that again, their knowledge was extremely limited.

These two examples above are not isolated incidents.

I’m sure there are some accountants or IFA’s that do understand the mechanics and applications of SSAS pensions, but I would guess they will be in the minority.

I’m not making these observations to be inflammatory or knock professional advisers but to hopefully prompt some thoughts.

SSAS pensions were designed to help small businesses and their owners and as such are packed full of unique features that can bring real benefits to business owners, and in todays market, most SME’s need all the help they can get!

I’m also not writing this article claiming that SSAS pensions are some sort of snake oil that will cure all known business problems, but I am sure that if you are a professional adviser who has business owner clients, you will have a number of clients where a SSAS will provide the best solution to some of their problems and other clients where a SSAS will provide the only solution!

The learning ladder

A number of years ago I was introduced to a concept called the learning ladder, which describes the various stages of learning for any topic.

The first stage is unflatteringly called unconscious incompetence, this is simply where an individual is broadly unaware of a subject and as such has no realisation of how much they don’t know.

The next three stages are conscious incompetence – when the individual starts to realise how much they don’t know. The next level is conscious competence – when an individual has to focus on the topic to recall facts, the final level is unconscious competence – this is where the topic is fully embedded and very little thought is required to recall facts.

I would venture to suggest that the majority of advisers are at level one, which is why they don’t investigate SSAS pensions and their uses for their clients – what other reason could there be?

SSAS Awareness

Over the coming months I am going to try to increase the general awareness of SSAS pensions by providing information in a number of ways to help advisers climb the learning ladder.

LinkedIn posts

I will be posting a number of articles discussing some of the many features of SSAS pensions and how those features can bring benefit to your business owner clients


I regularly speak to professional advisers who have dismissed SSASs as an option for their clients because of a misperception usually borne from a throw away comment from an individual with a similar level of knowledge of the subject.

I will be addressing some of the most common misperceptions that I come across in a series of articles

Case studies

On our website we now have a number of case studies available in both video and written format that start to explain how we have recently helped clients, please feel free to visit and check them out www.ssaspro.co.uk

The SSAS academy

If after starting to learn more about SSASs advisers want to increase their knowledge even further, we have put together a series of video-based tutorials that cover the mechanics and applications of SSASs. Access to the academy is free, however, its password protected, so If you would like to find out more drop me an email.

Anything else?

If you can think of anything else we can do to help the adviser community to help your clients either drop me a pm or post below

My agenda

I would like to stress that this initiative is not just with a personal agenda in mind (although it would nice to have more business). I know that we regularly provide advice that substantially helps businesses and I’m sure there are lots of businesses that could really use more help at the moment!

If you learn something from this initiative that helps you help a client even if ultimately you either have to (due to current arrangements) or your client wishes to use another SSAS provider I will be happy that we have helped in some way.

So, if you are pro-active adviser who is looking for ways to help your clients, why not invest some time and start climbing the SSAS learning ladder.

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